I used to love, well, maybe not love… I really liked… you know what, watching Andy Rooney at the tail-end of CBS’s 60 Minutes used to be pretty amusing. I looked forward to his segment as I would the “funnies” pages at the end of a boring, depressing newspaper.
“You know what really annoys the piss outta me?”
That’s how “A few minutes with Andy Rooney” always started. Or something very much like that. Then Mr. Rooney would go on to bitch–he was really whiny sometimes–about some innocuous, or even profound, irritation that most every warm-blooded ‘merican could relate to. He was a professional curmudgeon.
“People who like me really suck!”
OK, he never actually said those words, but he was such a consummate curmudgeon, he even did a segment on how stupid it was to receive gifts from his fans, going so far as to hold up before the camera several offerings he held in particular disdain.
“Look, Harold! He got that pocket protector I sent!”
Such a proud moment.
The truth of the matter is, through his whining, grousing curmudgeonry, Mr. Rooney provided hours of entertainment for millions of people who got to ride along with him on his dismal little trip. By all accounts, though, Mr. Rooney was, in reality, a very upbeat guy. In the end, however, he ended up defining himself as a permanent malcontent, with only a vanishingly small percentage of the population knowing what a sense of humor he might have had, or what beauty inspired him, or anything positive whatsoever. “You know what really pisses me off?” That’s how the vast viewing public will always remember him.
Post Andy Rooney, the blogosphere is rife with pretenders to his throne. After an exhaustive studynot really, I have discovered that you can’t surf through two or three blogs without finding someone who feels it his/her duty to enumerate each and every thing on planet Earth that contains some element of unpleasantness – to that blogger. You can find people whining and bitching about everything from what you should or should not be posting online, to the arduous task of saying “Thanks” to our troops in uniformyou can’t make this stuff up.
Do you smell that? That’s the slightly metallic smell of sharpened irony, slicing through this post. Yeah, I went there. I created a blog post bitching about people who are constantly bitching!
I have a deep and abiding respect for a well-crafted irony, which this post may or may not be; that’s for you to decide. I love subtlety in language. It’s something one really needs to work at and craft with purpose. I love how a skilled writer can lead the reader around by the nose, causing radical mood shifts–with words!
I’ve heard that Salman Rusdie is a highly skilled craftsman of language. Salman Rushdie is that guy, a bunch of years ago, who wrote “The Satanic Verses”, and who was subsequently sentenced to death by The Ayatollah leading Iran at that time. The man was forced into hiding for many, many years… which made it really difficult to appreciate all the free buzz he was getting for his books. I have never read anything by Salman Rushdie, and that is my loss and to my own detriment, I’m sure, but I have seen him in many interviews. He is a thoughtful and eloquent speaker, and I am constantly amazed at how irrepressibly upbeat the man is. He has had very serious threats made against his life–one of the translators of his book was actually killed–and yet, in interviews, he steadfastly refuses to go down the dark and dirty road of self-pity or derision against his would-be enemies. In his segment on CNN’s “GPS with Fareed Zakaria”, Mr. Rushdie explained, “… these fanatics and militants all have one thing in common: they define themselves by what they hate… don’t define yourself by what you hate; define yourself by what you love.”
Take a Moment
Let that thought sink in… roll it around on your tongue, in your mind… feel it.
Sucks to be me…
I am a technician, not just by training, but by nature, and the nature of a technician is to find what is wrong, and fix it. Where things get sticky is in that first part, always looking for what is wrong, and that can really take the happy out of your meal. Some people only feel satisfied when they’re bitching about something. I am not one of them. Am I going to stop being a technician? No way! I love problem solving! I delight in it! Problem solving is my bliss. But I don’t have to make myself miserable by applying my talent, indiscriminately, to all I see round about me. Recently, I was sitting in a waiting room before an appointment (I never go sit in someone’s waiting room unless I have an appointment). As I sat, waiting, I could have been reflecting on what a wreck my life has become, or what assholes most politicians are, or the fate of millions of homeless dogs, none of which I could make any change to at that moment, if indeed at all. Instead, the idea of an object traveling in a spiral path through deep space came to mind. I will explain, briefly, that, for various reasons, an object can not travel through space in a spiral; it pretty much has to travel in a relatively straight line. Nevertheless, I applied my problem solving skills, and by the time I went in for my appointment, I had worked out the highly improbable, but very possible circumstances under which an object may, indeed, be set on a spiral path through deep space…
I Love Problem Solving
I love the feeling I get when I’m able to help someone who is just plain stuck. I love the subtle colors of sunrise and sunset. I love well-crafted language. I love a warm bed on a cold night. I love pizza when it’s just hot enough, but not too hot.
That’s a little bit of me. Who are you–what do you love?